Saturday, January 05, 2008

Money: More Taboo Than Sex After All?

Money just might have replaced sex as a more taboo topic of rational discussion in society and in the home.

It's just a theory, and just IMO ... but just looking around sexual images are everywhere, sexual innuendo in certain TV shows and movies is rampant, and the topic of sex is all over magazines and tabloids ... but yet we tend to throw up our hands when it comes to the national debt and the credit/mortgage crisis.

I think this taboo developed by accident, in a slow slide over the last 40 years (Sex vs. Money). I also think that for an industrial nation we are not equipping our youth with basic budgeting life skills as well as we should be doing. (Although I have heard from some parents and a teacher with under 15 year olds and they are getting budgeting in school, so this gives me great hope.)

How I even got to this train of thought is funny, but follow me here --

When I work, I'll usually work in silence, but by the afternoon I'll sometimes listen to a movie or to movie/TV soundtrack music, Praise & Worship music or I will switch on the TV and watch some of the shows in the kids' block on the PBS station (like George Shrinks or Zaboomafoo). Usually by 3pm, I will turn on the TV and listen to -- don't laugh! -- Judge Judy.

Now if there is just one good thing about Reality TV, it's that you can learn vicariously through other people's mistakes (it's like why I like watching The Apprentice or America's Next Top Model). So I really like Judge Judy. She's a New Yorker, she's no-nonsense, has a great head on her shoulders and has been doing this stuff FOREVER. I'll often just listen to the cases she gets, and talk back to the TV. LOL. Some of the cases are DOOZIES.

The hardest ones to listen to are when parents and children sue each other; and when anyone 22 and younger is being sued for whatever reason. I haven't counted them but I'd become disturbed at just how many families were suing each other (!) and how many 19-21 year old ex-roommates were suing each other. It made me wonder just what bit of information they were all missing to make this situation come about in the first place. It tended to involve someone owing someone money more than anything, and Judge Judy would often yell "So GET A JOB!" It's often hilarious and also makes me cringe.

That all made me think of the bigger picture and of the families suffering with credit card debt and losing their homes in this mortgage crisis. There HAS to be a good reason why people are not better equipped to handle their home budget.

I looped that thought in with how some schools are providing middle school kids with condoms and I wondered if that was going to further compound the problem. What good will it be if you can have safe sex in the park because you don't know how to keep a roof over your head? It's kinda just messed up.

Which all lead to my Sex Vs. Money post last Monday. Then Ragnell's comment made me genuinely curious. So ARE they teaching Home Ec in school nowadays? I didn't get it at school 20+ years ago. Who do I know got Home Ec in school and how many got budgeting/ balancing checkbooks type of classes before they graduated High School? So I began to ask around.

I'm working on getting a sampling of at least 100 people if I can, to see what I find. So far out of the 33 responses since Thursday, a lot of people learned home budgeting all on their own. Then of those who actually GOT Home Ec at school, a shocking amount of Home Ec classes never included the "Ec" at all.

I'm not claiming to be all scientific but I am curious and do plan to report back when I have a good proportion of replies. I think we may all benefit from giving these matters some more consideration.